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Meeting of the Board of Regents | May 2009

Friday, May 1, 2009 - 9:50am

sed seal                                                                                                 







Johanna Duncan-Poitier



Charter Schools: Proposed First Renewal Charter for Opportunity Charter School



May 12, 2009


Goals 1 and 2





Issue for Decision


Should the Regents approve the staff’s recommendations concerning the proposed first renewal of the charter for Opportunity Charter School (New York City)?


Background Information


We received a request from the Chancellor of the city school district of the City of New York (the Chancellor) to approve and issue a first renewal charter for Opportunity Charter School (OCS or “the School”) for a term to commence on May 18, 2009, and run through August 18, 2010.  


The Chancellor approved a one-year renewal period because OCS has not sufficiently demonstrated enough progress or a strong enough program to warrant a renewal for a longer period of time.  Additionally, the Chancellor has placed OCS on probation for deficiencies in the delivery of services to special education students, non-compliance with teacher certification requirements, and low student performance.  Notwithstanding these issues, OCS has been showing improvements in its program and the Chancellor believes that it is in the best interest of the special education students of New York City for this program to continue for at least one more year to demonstrate its ability to effectively impact student achievement. 


The following is a short summary of the information and data concerning OCS.  Additional information can be found in the attachment.

  • An initial five-year charter was granted by the Board of Regents on May 18, 2004, and expired on May 17, 2009. 
  • OCS is located in CSD 3, Manhattan, and enrolls 326 students in grades 6-11. 
  • OCS proposes to add grade 12 with a total enrollment of 378 students in 2009-2010.   
  • OCS serves the lowest performing middle school students of any school in New York City.  The School serves 53 percent special education students.  Sixty-one percent of those students were previously placed in more restricted self-contained settings.   In 2007-2008, 89 percent of the student population was eligible for the federal Free Lunch Program.
  • The New York State Report Card found that OCS made Annual Yearly Progress (AYP) in 2007-2008 and was deemed the School to be in Good Standing.  This follows three consecutive years of OCS performing furthest from State standards.
  • For the past three years, all 8th grade students at OCS moved on to high school.
  • Between three and 14 percent of OCS high school students scored at or above 65 percent on five NYS Regents exams. 
  • Between six and 25 percent of OCS middle school students performed at proficiency levels on NYS ELA and math assessments over the past two years.
  • Nineteen percent of OCS students were proficient on the 2008-2009 NYS ELA assessment.  This is more than twice the percentage of students found proficient on the previous year’s ELA assessment.  
  • The School scored lower than its district of location in the New York State ELA and mathematics assessments over the past two years.
  • Despite low incoming performance of students, the School has shown an ability to make significant progress with students who have special needs and students in the lowest third of performance, both at the middle and high school levels.




VOTED:  That the Board of Regents approves and issues the first renewal charter of the Opportunity Charter School as proposed by the Chancellor of the city school district of the City of New York, and that its provisional charter be extended for a term up through and including August 18, 2010.


Reasons for Recommendation


(1) The charter school meets the requirements set out in Article 56 of the Education Law, and all other applicable laws, rules, and regulations; (2) the charter school has demonstrated the ability to operate in an educationally and fiscally sound manner; and (3) approving the proposed renewal is likely to improve student learning and achievement and materially further the purposes set out in subdivision two of section twenty-eight hundred fifty of Article 56 of the Education Law. 


Timetable for Implementation


The Regents action for the renewal of the Opportunity Charter School’s charter will become effective immediately.

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